Acne scars are a dermatology concern we see a lot at Derick Dermatology. These scars form when you suffer from acne and can lead to self-confidence issues. The main problem is that, while acne is temporary, scarring can be permanent.
In this article, we will explain what causes acne scars and what to do about them. This will involve some prevention and treatment options to consider. If you have acne and want to avoid scarring, or if you already have acne scars and want to treat them, carry on reading to learn more.
What causes acne scars?
Firstly, it’s important to note that acne scarring is very common. Estimates show that 80% of individuals between 11 and 30 have acne, with 20% of them suffering scarring. But, what exactly causes the scarring?
Scars form all over our body as a result of the natural wound-healing process in our skin. When your skin is damaged, the body sends signals to cells to produce more collagen (the most abundant protein in our bodies) to help form new skin. Unfortunately, when the damage is severe, this new patch of skin will never look the same as the old skin. Thus, you have a scar.
Acne scars are formed thanks to inflammation. When you develop acne, you get blemishes all over your face or body. Sometimes, these blemishes are quite small and don’t penetrate the skin that deeply. They become inflamed and will eventually rupture, but your skin heals them quickly without any scarring. When the blemishes penetrate deep below your skin, that’s where problems arise.
Deep acne blemishes can go below the surface and infect the second layer of your skin – the dermis. When these become inflamed and rupture, you damage the healthy skin tissue in this layer. As a result, repairing the damage is a lot harder and you will develop a scar.
What are the main types of acne scars?
You now know that acne scars form thanks to an inflammatory response encouraging collagen production to repair damaged skin tissue.
But, did you know there are two main types of acne scars dependent on collagen production?
- Atrophic Scars – This type of acne scarring happens when your skin loses tissues. Consequently, this means your body didn’t produce enough collagen to adequately repair the area. If your scars are depressed and look like pits, they are atrophic.
- Hypertrophic Scars – On the other hand, if your inflammatory response triggers too much collagen production, you end up with extra tissue. This leads to raised scars that look like bumps on your skin. If your scars sound like this, you have hypertrophic scarring.
Do acne scars go away?
Much like stretch marks, acne scars will not go away on their own. Permanent damage has been caused to your skin and it won’t magically disappear with time. Yes, you may see the scars start to fade after a year or so, but it’s unlikely they’ll go away completely. As you get older and collagen production naturally decreases, there’s a chance atrophic acne scars become even more sunken and visible.
However, don’t let this get you down. Acne scars won’t go away on their own, but they can fade and be removed with the help of a dermatologist.
What removes acne scars?
At Derick Dermatology, we have a range of cosmetic treatments that can tackle both forms of acne scarring. Two of the most popular options are:
- Laser Resurfacing – Laser resurfacing, or laser skin rejuvenation, is a technique that utilizes a special laser to remove skin cells from your body. This does two main things. Firstly, it helps to remove blemishes such as acne scars, making them less visible. Secondly, it encourages collagen production and forces new skin to develop. This can mean healthy skin grows in place of the damaged scar tissue removed by the treatment. It’s been hugely popular with acne scar sufferers for many years and demonstrates amazing results.
- Filler Injections – Dermal fillers involve injecting the skin with a special solution to provide extra plumpness and fullness to the area. We use Juvederm fillers at our clinic, which is one of the most trusted brands out there. When combined with laser skin rejuvenation, this can be an excellent treatment for atrophic scars that cause pits in your skin. You restore fullness to the affected area and can grow in confidence.
It’s never too late to tackle acne scars, but they are easier to remove and fade when dealt with early on. If you notice any scarring after your acne has cleared up, it’s worth waiting a few months and seeing if there are changes. Sometimes, it can seem like you have scars, but this is just hyperpigmentation. After your skin has gone through acne and suffered from inflammation, it can change color slightly for a bit. If your skin returns back to normal, then you’ll know this was your problem rather than scarring.
Still, if no changes are seen after a few months to a year – and you still have bad acne scars – find a professional dermatologist to help provide the best treatments to remove them.
How do you prevent acne from scarring?
Treating acne scars is possible, but a better approach is to prevent the scars from forming altogether. You’ll be pleased to know this is a very viable and successful approach. The idea is to stop the formation of pimples/blemishes while preventing inflammation.
As well as treating acne scars, we have medical services that can treat acne affecting your skin. Our team will provide a bespoke treatment plan that gives you the right products or medication to use. This will target your acne and stop breakouts from being as frequent, meaning scars are less likely to develop.
It’s important to note that over-the-counter acne prevention treatments don’t always work. You should avoid trying them as they might not be formulated for your skin – or to tackle your specific type of acne. This is why it makes sense to see an experienced dermatologist if you want acne treatment. You receive a treatment plan that’s made for you and takes your individual skin needs into account. This improves efficacy and can reduce side effects.
How do you prevent acne scars naturally?
Some people are worried about using different acne treatments or medications to treat this condition. They fear the possible side effects or don’t like the idea of using certain chemicals on their face.
Don’t worry, there are ways to prevent acne scars naturally without touching medication:
- Keep Inflammation Down – Pimples can develop on your skin without becoming inflamed and they won’t cause acne scars. The trick is learning how to reduce inflammation altogether. This can be hard, but one idea is to treat your skin gently. Don’t aggressively scrub it with harsh cleaning products and avoid touching your face as much as possible. During your dermatology appointment, we will tell you what products to use on your face to keep inflammation down. We’ll also explain the best ways to clean your face without triggering further inflammation.
- Never Pop Your Pimples – As a pimple develops, you gain the urge to pop it. A common misconception is that popping pimples is good for acne. After all, it removes pus and bursts the blemish, so surely that means it goes away, right? Wrong. All you’re doing is irritating the skin, triggering inflammation, and potentially infecting other areas of your skin, meaning more blemishes develop. Plus, when you pop a pimple it becomes exposed to bacteria in the area or on your skin. Therefore, it’s easier for a deeper infection to occur, targeting the dermis and leading to acne scars.
- Stop Washing Your Face With Hot Water – Hot water feels nice and relaxing, but it’s bad for your skin. The main problem is that it opens your pores and encourages the excretion of sebum. This is the natural oil your skin uses to lubricate itself, but an overproduction of it is normally what leads to acne. So, if you’re always using hot water, you’re just adding to the problem. Not to mention the fact that hot water will obviously cause extra redness and can aid inflammation. Instead, wash your face with cold water – as cold as you can handle. This does the opposite and tightens your pores to reduce sebum production. Therefore, you should have fewer breakouts and less inflammation, meaning scars are not as likely to develop.
Get Acne Scar Treatment Today
If you’re suffering from bad acne scars and want to restore some self-confidence while enjoying more youthful and smoother skin, get in touch with us today. Derick Dermatology will help you get the results you’re after with our range of bespoke cosmetic procedures.
Likewise, if you currently have acne and want to prevent scarring, we can sort you out with some acne treatments tailored to your needs.
If you click here you can schedule an appointment right away using our online service.
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Derick Dermatology is a leading authority in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatological services with 23 stunning dermatology practices in Chicago, IL, and Tampa Bay, FL. Our dedicated dermatologists offer exceptional dermatological services for both adult and pediatric patients. Please complete our online form or call our main number at (866) 337-4251 to schedule a consultation.